Did you hear the one about the Ex Democratic Party Chairman and the peace activist walking into the coffee shop?
That was Tim Kaine and me on Saturday.
He’s the former governor of Virginia, former DNC Chair, and current candidate for the US Senate.
He arrived nearly an hour late for his event here in Charlottesville at a local coffee shop. I met him outside and walked in with him to ask him a question on the way, knowing I’d have to leave before he got around to taking questions as part of the event itself.
I pointed out to him that the US Conference of Mayors was expected to vote on Monday to ask Congress to end its unpopular wars in order to direct the spending to something useful. Would you, if elected, I asked him, vote to continue funding these wars?
One possible answer, a democratic if not Democratic one, would have been this: “No.”
Another would have been: “That depends . . . . “
Instead, Kaine said he wanted me to ask him that question during the event. Whether he would have taken my question, I don’t know, but I couldn’t stick around. A friend who did told me that Kaine did not say one word about our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, etc., or about the military budget.
Other than his cheering for the killing of Osama bin Laden, I can’t find any mention of wars or the military on Kaine’s campaign website either.
Kaine began his speech (I was there for part of it) by claiming to be Christian and religious and to care about values and to want to look out for everybody including the least of these and to follow the example of the Good Samaritan.
One has to wonder who Jesus would bomb.
Kaine talked up investment in education, but did not specify whether he went along with the Obama-Duncan privatizing model.
He talked up fiscal responsibility without privatizing Social Security or Medicare, but he did not say what it was he WOULD cut.
This was all by way of arguing that Virginia is relatively successful economically. My friend, Dave Shreve, said he asked Kaine whether Virginia’s vicinity to Washington, D.C., and all its government contracts didn’t play a big role. Kaine reportedly admitted as much. Of course, most of that spending is for the military, “homeland security,” and related fields.
Where does Kaine stand?
His record and his relentless praise for President Obama suggest that he stands where he’s told to stand.
That doesn’t inspire me.
Our former congressman, Tom Perriello, told the local newspaper, the Daily Progress, today that he would have backed war in Libya, unlike his Republican replacement.
Republicans deserve all the scorn that Kaine and other Democrats devote so much of their stump speeches to, but if all it gets us is greater militarism, don’t you know that you can count me out?